Jean Ryan death: Wife killed 'following row about necklace'

Shaun Ryan Image copyright Suffolk Police
Image caption Shaun Ryan stabbed his wife Jean to death in a "savage attack", the court heard

An Army veteran who killed his wife in a "savage attack" following an argument sparked by a broken necklace has been sentenced.

Shaun Ryan, 64, stabbed his wife Jean, 67, at least a dozen times at their bungalow on Gosford Way, Felixstowe, Suffolk, on 13 April 2016.

Ryan, who suffered brain injuries while serving, admitted manslaughter by grounds of diminished responsibility.

At Ipswich Crown Court he was given a hospital order and jail term.

At an earlier hearing, prosecutor Peter Gair said Mrs Ryan called police at about 23:30 BST on the day of the killing "clearly in distress".

When officers got to the house, they were let in by Ryan, who told them "you better check on her", pointing to the bedroom.

'Savage attack'

"Jean was found already dead with a knife in her back by police," he said.

In interviews, Ryan, who was initially charged with murder, claimed that his wife "had broken a necklace", which had sparked an argument about money.

When his wife rushed at him with a knife he had disarmed her, but he could not remember any more, he said.

Image caption Jean Ryan was declared dead at the scene of the stabbing

Sentencing, Judge David Goodin said it was a "savage attack... blunt force trauma to head, bruising to face and torso and at least a dozen stab wounds".

The court was told Ryan suffered brain injuries in 1973 and 1974 whilst in the Army, causing personality disorder, as well as epilepsy and cognitive impairment.

At the time of the killing, Ryan had not been taking his epilepsy medication and also had long-standing tendency to alcohol misuse, the court heard.

Judge Goodin said that the hospital order was of indeterminate length but he also handed Ryan a 12-year prison sentence, with an extended five years on license.

He said that meant if Ryan was deemed fit for release from hospital before the end of his jail term, he would be sent to prison.

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